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Old 04-08-2011, 05:00 PM   #1
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US Border agents can seize electronic devices without much reason

I posted this in the Harry Potter thread but it actually has more universal applicability. Digital books, music, movies....

Well, if you have digital copies of Harry Potter on your kindle or laptop or tablet, watch out for US Border seizures:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...zedonentrytous

Gist: they don't need anything more than the fact you are crossing the border into the US.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:09 PM   #2
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No one is going to send you to jail because of a pirated ebook.

While there may be lots of privacy concerns, I'm fairly confident there won't be any legal ramifications unless you've got child porn on your device.

So, while this may be worth noting, le'ts not turn this into an occasion for irrational fears, kthx.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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Let's be clear, FF2. When you cross into the US, border guards can seize pretty much anything they want, and subject you to just about anything they want to subject you to. And you have essentially no recourse. That is the nature of borders, and the US border is perhaps more annoyingly arbitrary and autocratic than most. I have dual US citizenship, so I at least have a right to enter the US. But that doesn't mean I do so without being subject to search and seizure.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
No one is going to send you to jail because of a pirated ebook.

While there may be lots of privacy concerns, I'm fairly confident there won't be any legal ramifications unless you've got child porn on your device.

So, while this may be worth noting, le'ts not turn this into an occasion for irrational fears, kthx.
Oh good. That's reassuring .
While they might not send you to jail for personal piracy of an ebook; if that evidence is admissible in court, it is trivial for them to release that information to a central dump where copyright trolls can fish for potential lawsuits (a la RIAA/MPAA). There's no confidentiality agreement there (no controls at all really if even a warrant is not required) even if no criminal activity is found.

The only question is, is it worth the while of the border agents to go that far? Given enough lobbying on the part of the publishing industry, sure it is. Heck, for the RIAA/MPAA, it already is. While it is unlikely that a cursory inspection at the border will reveal pirated movies/music/ebooks, deep forensic scans can easily put you on the spot for several million dollars of liability (as calculated by the magical arithmetic they seem to use ).

Think about it - border agents have been given a no-holds-barred license to snoop at the border. Have you so much faith in human nature that you think this will only be used reasonably and only when necessary with all due caution and courtesy? If that's an irrational fear, you may call me pi .
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:34 PM   #5
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3...2...1... cloud computing FTW ! Well, it would be if I had free fast wifi access when I travel overseas. That seems rare. I end up sniffing around for unsecured wifi access points or else pay outrageous hotel one-night fees. But too many seizures reported would probably drive more cloud use and more Truecrypt use.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
Let's be clear, FF2. When you cross into the US, border guards can seize pretty much anything they want, and subject you to just about anything they want to subject you to. And you have essentially no recourse. That is the nature of borders, and the US border is perhaps more annoyingly arbitrary and autocratic than most. I have dual US citizenship, so I at least have a right to enter the US. But that doesn't mean I do so without being subject to search and seizure.
Yes, crossing the border is the second-worst thing to happen to SF author Peter Watts recently:

http://boingboing.net/2010/04/26/pet...s-wont-go.html

Be sure to look at the "previous" links.

(The worst thing to happen to him recently was a bit of necrotizing fasciitis)
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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Oh good. That's reassuring
I'm not saying it's puppies and chocolate. Like I said, there are definitely some privacy issues. I'm only saying that rampant paranoia, exemplified by posts like yours, really aren't warranted.

Customs doesn't give a damn about pirated ebooks. Child porn yes, counterfeit goods yes, illegal drugs yes. Harry Potter ebooks? Please.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:13 AM   #8
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I have crossed many borders in my time and to be very honest, the Canadian border officers are the worst for me, all Canadians I think. I really think they feel inferior to the RCMP officers stationed at all border crossings, they are seen as more official by some border customs officers, well they are inferior so their feelings of inferiority are justified and take it out on the travelers (only Canadians, they are very polite to foreigners)

As far as seizing anything, I have never had anything seized and I have brought 20 knock off watches back as gifts for friends or DVD's, VCD etc. I don't think they are looking at someone carrying 20 pieces of different articles, they are concerned with someone carrying 200 Rolex knock offs, then it is more serious.

The last time I drove to the states I was going to a shooting competition in Washington. No problem, I had driven across the border many times through Montana while transporting more than one firearm, this time was different. When I was asked where I was going I told them, then they asked if I was carrying any firearms, as they always do, except this time they were rather agitated and demanded that I get out of the Jeep.

As I mentioned, this wasn't the first time crossing at the crossing with firearms, it turned out to be the last, after that I flew, believe it or not it is easier to transport then on an airline. The Border agents instructed me to take everything from the vehicle, this wasn't all that easy because I was going for 3 weeks and camping the entire time, so I had the back of my Jeep completely packed. After unpacking all the camping supplies I opened the bolted in safe that held the 4 firearms (a pistol, an assault rifle, shot gun and long range rifle). I showed them all the required paperwork and the invitation to go to the competition all valid and orderly.

After 6 hours waiting and being treated very nicely I must say I was "Released" They refused to tell me what the issue was and told me to be on my way.

I later found out the Clinton was appearing in Washington state somewhere, they were a little concerned about a Canadian with guns I guess.

Last edited by Mortis; 04-09-2011 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:44 AM   #9
JeremyR
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You know, thanks to drug forfeiture laws, cops can seize pretty much whatever they want. And it's up to you to prove it wasn't somehow drug related and so you deserve it back.

http://reason.com/archives/2010/01/2...feiture-racket
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Old 04-09-2011, 12:47 AM   #10
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You know, thanks to drug forfeiture laws, cops can seize pretty much whatever they want. And it's up to you to prove it wasn't somehow drug related and so you deserve it back.

http://reason.com/archives/2010/01/2...feiture-racket
Come on, no one ever deserves to have their stuff returned, this is the Government you are talking about!!
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:23 AM   #11
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The International Airport in Osaka, Japan, has large signs near the customs stations warning people about bringing in counterfeit goods. But they are not looking for ONE counterfeit handbag or ONE counterfeit Rolex, or ONE pirated DVD. They are looking for people who are trafficking in these goods.

I had a client a few years ago who was an attorney for Microsoft. His only job was to prosecute illegal use of pirated Microsoft software. But Microsoft was NOT targeting individual users. They go after corporations using fifty to several hundred computers running illegal software. No one is looking for individual users, except some bummed-out border guard or customs officer whose wife may have shut him off the night before and he's just angry and taking it out where ever he can.

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Old 04-09-2011, 01:43 AM   #12
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The International Airport in Osaka, Japan, has large signs near the customs stations warning people about bringing in counterfeit goods. But they are not looking for ONE counterfeit handbag or ONE counterfeit Rolex, or ONE pirated DVD. They are looking for people who are trafficking in these goods.

I had a client a few years ago who was an attorney for Microsoft. His only job was to prosecute illegal use of pirated Microsoft software. But Microsoft was NOT targeting individual users. They go after corporations using fifty to several hundred computers running illegal software. No one is looking for individual users, except some bummed-out border guard or customs officer whose wife may have shut him off the night before and he's just angry and taking it out where ever he can.

Stitchawl
I have always found the Japanese customs people to be very polite and scary at the same time, maybe it's because they are so polite?

I was very worried going into Singapore the first time, I had very long hippy hair and because I had a 15 hour layover in LA I looked like a greasy pot smokin hippy too, the funny thing is they didn't even look at me funny and the whole time I was dreading those 6 horrible words "Bend over and think warm thoughts!".
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:20 AM   #13
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I use linux with full disk encryption on my laptop, which is legal in America. They would need a reason to get a search warrant to make me give them the passphrase. I'm not hiding anything but It's always nice to be secure and not have to worry about anything like this.

We can compile a kernel module for our ereaders and can encrypt our documents folder as well and not have to worry about it.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mortis View Post
us.
The last time I drove to the states I was going to a shooting competition in Washington. No problem, I had driven across the border many times through Montana while transporting more than one firearm, this time was different. .
Hey, Mortis, next time don't bother taking anything to Montana, no need !



A radio programme here, concerning gun laws/ownership in the States, interviewed the proud Mayor, or the equivalent, of a smallish town in Montana, who said they had no gun problem "as such" , and, as a for example, gave the proof that a local sports club was holding a 45 (get it ?) day raffle, in aid of funds, during which the prize - each day - was a gun, and that they were common prizes in similar events in the area.
Precisely what type gun was not mentioned...................

Now, much as I feel there is much to admire about the U.S., I couldn't help agreeing with the programme anchor, who said that perhaps it was time to get back to a slightly different world............
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:51 AM   #15
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I won a very nice 1911 Colt Long Slide, .38 super in Montana, had to sell it because I couldn't take it with me to Canada. Montana is the only place I have been where you don't have to be a cop or have a permit to open carry, I don't think its a bad thing, in Montana! In NY it could be problematic, Alaska I believe, please correct me if I am wrong, has the same laws as Montana.

Having carried a handgun a lot, I don't feel it should be anything but an extra burden to the person carrying. I never had an issue with it, but I know many that didn't like it, made it hard for them to do their jobs, imagine a carpenter that hated hammers.
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